Understanding The Cloud and Multi-tenancy

The “Cloud” is everywhere. But what is it? Basically, cloud computing means storing and accessing data and programs over the Internet instead of your computer's hard drive.

When you store data on or run programs from the hard drive, that's called local storage and computing. Everything you need is physically close to you, which means accessing your data is fast and easy, for that one computer, or others on the local network.   Working off your hard drive is how the computer industry functioned for decades.

In a big business, you may know all there is to know about what's on the other side of the Internet connection, however, as an individual user, you may never have any idea what kind of massive data-processing is happening on the other end. The end result is the same: with an online connection, cloud computing can be done anywhere, anytime.

There are many examples of the cloud and many of you are using it now:  Google; Twitter; LinkedIn; Netflix; online banking; Facebook; Amazon; iCloud; Microsoft Office Online and more.

Now we know a little bit about what the cloud is.  In our world, the accounting and business software world, the word “multi-tenancy” gets thrown around in conjunction with the cloud.  When you are considering a move to the cloud, this is an important concept to understand. 

Let’s take a look.

Multi-tenancy Defined

Multi-tenancy is an architecture where one instance of software serves multiple customers.  Each customer is a tenant.  Tenants may have the ability to customize some parts of the application, such as the colour of the user interface or business rules, but they cannot customize the application’s code (Source:  “WhatIs.com” – multi-tenancy definition).

Here are a couple big advantages of multi-tenancy.  It can be economical because software development and maintenance costs are shared with the other tenants.  Also, when an update or a patch is applied, it gets applied once and affects all tenants.

There is a concern that when data is in the cloud or a multi-tenant environment that there is a higher risk of data being exposed.  In other words, people worry about the security of their data.  The short response is that the cloud and mutli-tenant service providers are going to put a lot of expertise and resources into making sure their infrastructure is as secure as possible.  It’s their business, it’s their reputation at stake.  Providers go to great lengths to ensure the security of their cloud offering as well as ensuring your data doesn’t get exposed to the other tenants in the application. They build and test their software to design out the risk of these data leakages.

Summary

When you are considering a move to the cloud, it is important to educate yourself on what is involved to ensure you are successful and your data is safe.  Research the cloud offering you are considering as well as how their multi-tenancy architecture is structured and supported.

BAASS Business Solutions is well-versed in both the cloud and multi-tenancy.  One of our offerings, Intacct, is a cloud-based accounting system.  If you would like to hear more, we having ongoing webinar or please feel free to contact us directly.

This article was originally published on the BAASS Insights Technology Blog. Reposted with permission.

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About the Author

BAASS Business Solutions

BAASS Business Solutions customer-centric, collaborative approach has enabled us to expand our team and office locations throughout the years. BAASS has over 20 locations throughout Canada, the US and Caribbean. Our success has been built on a simple formula - deliver what we promise and build long-term win-win relationships.